Tag Archives: drug addiction

Athletics May Prevent Teens From Abusing Drugs

athletics help prevent drug abuseA new study recently completed by researchers at the University of Michigan shows that teenagers who are involved with sports are less likely to abuse heroin and prescription drugs. With the opioid epidemic that our nation is currently facing, more people are searching out factors that can be applied as a preventative measure.

In the past, researchers have found that children and teenagers in high contact sports are considered more likely to abuse prescription painkillers after being prescribed medications for injuries. In fact, other studies have shown that teenagers that are prescribed prescription painkillers for injuries are 33% more likely to abuse opioids after the prescription runs out.

However, this new study provides an alternate view on teenage sports. According to lead researcher, Philip Veliz, most sports that teenagers participate in are not high contact, high injury sports. These less violent sports provide a protective barrier between drug use and teenagers, and the percentage of those helped by the athletics is far greater than those that are potentially harmed.

“The unfortunate pattern of prescription painkiller misuse to heroin use was not something that was more likely to occur among athletes either moderately or highly involved in sports,” explained Veliz, lead author of the study and an assistant research professor at the University of Michigan.

Before reaching this conclusion, the research team poured over information gathered in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey from 1997 to 2014. They found that over 53% of eighth- and tenth-graders reported being highly involved in some sort of sport. Nearly 39% of respondents stated that they were moderately involved in sports and almost 8% reported that they did not participate in sports. The teenagers were then asked questions regarding their prescription drug and heroin use. Those who participated heavily in sports were much less likely to abuse drugs than those that did not participate in sports at all.

While some critics point out that the amount of teenagers participating in violent sports needs to be addressed, the study does show that extracurricular activities can be important in keeping children and teenagers away from drugs.

Stigma More Pronounced with Drug Addiction than with Mental Illness

jhbsphThe results of a recent survey published in the October issue of Psychiatric Services point to the fact that American society can’t decide on how to categorize substance abuse. Is it a medical condition that can be treated as heart disease can be treated, or is substance abuse a personal failure to be overcome?

Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, and associate professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health says, “In recent years, it has become more socially acceptable to talk publicly about one’s struggles with mental illness. But with addiction, the feeling is that the addict is a bad or weak person, especially because much drug use is illegal.”

Researchers also found the respondents also had higher levels of opposition to policies that would help addicts in their recovery. And, that 3 in 10 respondents believed that both recovery from substance abuse and mental illness was impossible.

Barry and fellow researchers blame the negative connotation of drug addition on the media’s portrayal of addicts as street drug users in the bad part of town, instead of someone who lives in the suburbs and got hooked on painkillers after a surgery or dealing with chronic pain. To change public opinion, Barry says Americans need to hear more of the inspiring stories of people who, with effective treatments, have been able to move past their addictions to lead sober lives.

“If you can educate the public that these are treatable conditions, we will see higher levels of support for policy changes that will benefit people with mental illness and drug addiction,” stated another study author, Beth McGinty, PhD, MS. Dr. McGinty is also an associate professor at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Both Barry and McGinty believe getting rid of the shame surrounding drug addiction, is a step towards changing public opinion. They say once it would have been unthinkable for people to openly talk about the antidepressants they take. Frank discussions regarding dependency are needed to reshape public opinion.

Demi Lovato Speaks Out Against the Glamorizing of Drugs in Hollywood

dmilovatoThe 21-year-old singer and former US X Factor judge, Demi Lovato, has transformed herself from child-star-gone-wrong to outspoken role model in a matter of years. The former Disney star is known to have been vocal about her struggles with drugs, alcohol and self-harming after spending time in rehab in late 2010 and has been even more open about her dependence in the past year.

In December, she revealed the extent of her addiction in an interview with Access Hollywood. She reflects on her time as a 19-year-old cocaine addict, receiving drugs from people in the industry, sneaking drugs on airplanes, using cocaine every thirty minutes and eventually realizing how extreme her drug use had become before finally seeking help.

After her treatment and a brief period out of the spotlight, Demi made the decision to be 100% honest with her fans about why she was in rehab in the hopes that she might be an inspiration to anyone else who might be dealing with similar issues. She has since become a breath of fresh air in Hollywood amidst an equally influential culture that has been known to romanticize the party lifestyle.

The star recently sent out a call-to-action pleading Hollywood to stop glamorizing drug use and stop using. In the same message, after actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s death, Demi Lovato went to Twitter to advocate for awareness and compassion when it comes to addiction.

“I wish more people would lose the stigma and treat addiction as the deadly and serious DISEASE that it is,” she wrote. “Drugs are not something to glamorize in pop music or film to portray as harmless recreational fun.”

To push the message even further, she has banned her team from using drugs or alcohol on her upcoming Neon Lights tour. When asked about the decision, she explained that the priority on tour should be about putting on the best performance and staying in shape, not wild partying.

Is Addiction Really a Never-Ending Problem?

researchAt the recently-held Heroin Summit in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the doctors of the Cleveland Clinic treatment center exclaimed that addiction needed to be addressed indefinitely. Whether he was referencing individual addiction or the societal problem as a whole wasn’t clear, but it brings up some interesting points, comparisons and theories.

For starters, there are millions of examples throughout history of people who have become addicted and then fully recovered after getting some form of help, therapy or rehabilitation. Whether you want to say they are still diseased but just in remission, or you want to say that they have been cured, either way it could be correctly argued in most cases. The point isn’t what to call it, but what the results are. If someone stopped being addicted and moved on to have a wonderful life free from substance abuse, then that is what should be celebrated. To say that the individual needs to be addressed indefinitely may not always be an applicable description.

However, things may be different on a societal level. Aside from successful treatments of addiction, there is the issue of prevention. Yes, there are definitely many effective prevention measures and programs that have been implemented throughout the country, but even with the best there seems to be some young people who still get caught in the trap. Not only that, but there are many adults who become dependent on prescription drugs, such as painkillers after a surgery, who go on to become fully addicted. Can this be avoided?

Perhaps the only way to really prevent addiction on a global scale would be to have individualized prevention programs for each person, regardless of the age. The indefinite part would be vigilance on understanding the unique social, genetic, mental and other factors that combine to create an addiction problem so that the education and prevention can be uniquely tailored for each person throughout his or her lifetime.

These may be huge goals that could be very difficult to accomplish, but we like to keep on the optimistic side of things, as we see people successfully recover each day here at Desert Cove, and can work with people to help develop effective prevention plans as well.

Naloxone-Carrying First Responders Are Saving Lives

nasalnarcanFirst responders in Quincy, Massachusetts have been trained to administer Narcan (a brand of naloxone) to people who have overdosed on opiate narcotics such as heroin, methadone and prescription painkillers. These paramedics and police officers have been able to save many lives, according to a news report.

Every police cruiser in the down is now equipped with two doses of nasal Narcan. Since they started carrying the doses, officers have used it successfully 170 out of 179 times over the past three years. The article notes that of the remaining nine, five of the people had already passed away before it was administered and the other four had used multiple substances.

Overdose deaths from opiates have increased exponentially across the country and reached nearly 20,000 per year, which is more than the number of lives lost to AIDS or homicides.

Providing safety measures such as making naloxone available to first responders nationwide could potentially help save thousands of lives per year. While this by no means is enough, many advocates, treatment professionals and policy makers feel that it is important to use as many tools as possible to prevent the loss of life through substance abuse.

Opiate users often seek treatment after an overdose, which should halt the drug use if the right program is matched up to the individual. If you know of someone in need of treatment for heroin addiction, painkillers or any other type of drug, contact us today.